Thursday, October 2, 2008

Senate Bill Appeases Rightwing Republicans, Socks it to the People

by Norman Markowitz

To follow up on Tom Riggins' intelligent response to the Senate bill, the "revisions" in it from the rejected House Bill were largely tax benefits for the core constituents of the Republican right, namely finance capital and the wealthy. A few commentators were making the point that this may make the present bill harder to pass in the house because it will lead the bill to lose more votes from progressive Democrats.

This bill deserves to be rejected in this form, but, of greater importance, the leadership of the opposition must come from progressives in Congress, if there is to be legislation in the very near future that will address the crisis (as I believe there must be). The professional politicians who crafted the Senate bill were responding to the fact that two thirds of the House Republicans voted against it, that the "left-right" alliance against it was one where the "free market" rightwing Republicans clearly had the upper hand and were the ones to whom concessions had to be made, which is exactly what the Senate bill does.

As Tom said, lowering interest rates on mortgages, ending foreclosures, letting judges set mortgage rates are major concessions that should be put in any "bailout" legislation. But there are other things, like repeal of Gramm-Leach, repayment provisions, that can and should be put in the legislation (all of which would alienate the rightwing Republicans who voted against the initial proposal, but would both expose and isolate them).

I hope that what I fear will happen won't happen, that the Senate bill will pass because the "concessions" to those who are directly responsible for the crisis in class terms will lead them change their votes and support it, since "free market" capitalism will once more enable them to take the money and run.

As for Tom's comment on the Bourbons forgetting and learning nothing from history, one should always remember the famous words of the last pre revolution Bourbon Queen, Marie Antoinette, "let them eat cake." I can just hear Sarah Palin tonight, asked about the effects of the Senate bill on working people, say "let them eat Pizza."